Following a fire last week that damaged the outside signage of the Tropical Sunset Gift Shop on Old San Carlos, the owners tell us they will be re-opening today.
The business has been in Patrick Couly’s family since 1975 when his mom, now 87 years old and retired, sold product to the public out of kiosks. Monica Couly says her mother-in-law Rosa would go to K-Mart to buy shirts, and she used a big machine in the shop to print on those shirts herself before selling them. The family is originally from Belgium. Monica says her husband Patrick was basically born in the store and together they have a 12-year old son who they are grooming to take over the business someday. “This is our family business. We love it so much.”
Patrick says they won’t have a new sign for a while but the store is just fine. The Couly’s employ 7 people at Tropical Sunset and were anxious to get back open quickly so they could get their employees back on the payroll. They would love for the locals to stop in and help them get rolling again.
Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Ron Martin said the fire was an exterior fire in the wood facade where the building sign was. The fire was determined to be accidental and from an electrical source. There were no injuries and the fire department was able to quickly extinguish the fire upon arrival. It started around 1AM on July 14th.